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City of Hamilton warns data breach may compromise residents’ personal information

Eisenberger made the announcement as part of an Emergency Operations Centre update on Friday afternoon.
Eisenberger made the announcement as part of an Emergency Operations Centre update on Friday afternoon. Nick Westoll/Global News

The City of Hamilton is alerting residents of a “potential privacy breach” in which water-related billing data may have been accessed by third-party vendors.

In a release on Wednesday afternoon, the city said it’s water-related services, including meter reading, billing, payment, collections, and customer care services which are managed by Alectra Utilities, may have given access to customers’ names, addresses, and tax assessment roll numbers.

READ MORE: More than 28 million Canadians impacted by a data breach in past 12 months: privacy watchdog

City staff did not reveal the nature of the issue and said they had no confirmation of any breach through Alectra or that any information has been accessed for any purposes other than for water services.

In the release, the city suggests customers maintain a “normal level of vigilance” in regards to personal information.

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They also confirmed the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) has been contacted.

Alectra Spokesperson John Friesen told Global News that in light of an investigation the company could not confirm any potential breach nor the timeframe on how long customers’ information may have been exposed.

“Alectra is working closely with City of Hamilton staff to resolve this matter to their satisfaction,” said Friensen, “We will cooperate fully with any investigation by the Information and Privacy Commissioner and have engaged Alectra’s Privacy Officer.”

READ MORE: Researcher ‘shocked’ at city take-over of Hamilton Anti-Racism Resource Centre

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The city says it’s also investigating and will take steps with Alectra to review and disclose details of any potential privacy breach.

Customers with concerns can contact Alectra at (905) 317-4781 or e-mail the privacy officer at Alectra Utilities.

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